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Daily Devotion for August 1, 2012
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
A beautiful modern song, Miserere sung by Andrea Bocelli and John Miles. The song is much too long to fit into our lyrics box, but the first lines mean, "Have mercy upon me, for I am in misery."
"For Each New Morning"For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
I thank thee.
A Prayer of Repentance
O Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended you, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray to you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Now to Him who has given me grace in accordance with His gospel, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for many ages past, but now revealed and made known by the command of the eternal God, so that all mankind might find the obedience that comes from faith; to the only God, the God of wisdom and truth, be glory forever through His only son, Jesus Christ.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
To pray is to listen, to move through my own chattering to God, to that place where I can be silent and listen to what God may have to say.
~ Madeleine L’Engle
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (ESV)
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler — not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders?
Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you." (Deuteronomy 13:5)
Notes on the Scripture
Paul here instructs Christians to expel and even shun people who call themselves "Christians", but who continue to wallow in sin. Note that he is not referring to people outside the church. Christians certainly have a right, even a duty, to talk to the unsaved and bring them to Christ. Think of Christ and the woman at the well. Rather, he is talking about people whom Christ called "seeds that are sown in weeds and grow to be choked by them".
Two days ago, Paul taught a hard lesson about the man who was sleeping with his father's wife. Now he returns to the subject, and the lesson becomes even harder. Paul's concept of a church is very different from our modern-day version, and his advice on church administration was, to say the least, stricter in some respects.
Were the Christian churches of Paul's time rigid, unreasonable, hungry, a home to unreasonable zealotry? Or are the churches of today lax, frivolous, weak, fat, and more concerned with compromise and popularity than with following Christ?
If the Bible is the anchor upon which we found our knowledge of God, then one would have to say, in most cases, the latter. Is there a church today that does not have, in its congregation, greedy or vain people, swindlers, and lechers? And not just the congregation: It would be surprising to think of a major denomination where such activity has not been tolerated among the ministry. "But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning." (1 Timothy 5:20)
But we are all sinners; how shall we judge? Who am I to accuse so-and-so of fornication or greed? Do we want to turn churches into angry finger-pointing, put members on trial for sin?
Apparently so, although Paul seems to be speaking only about intransigent cases. Elsewhere he speaks of counseling and exhortation for those who have gone astray. His message is primarily one of love and salvation. But, quite apparently, he felt that the church in Corinth needed a wake-up call, a basic lesson that a Christian church is not a place where people should go to mouth a few prayers and then live their lives completely in the flesh, with no regard for their alleged faith.